Friday, January 28, 2005

Another Childhood Memory Destroyed...

So I'm sittin' here, watching this new "Battlestar Galactaca" thing on Sci-Fi. Maybe it's just me, but all the fancy camera work and special effects seem to be cloaking a show striking in its awfulness. Now, I know that the original BSG was also strikingly awful. I think even as a child I knew it was bad, in the same way I knew Space: 1999 was bad... But I loved it all the same. The main memories I can call up about these two shows are 1) Daggit, the robot dog; 2) Dirk Benedict as Starbuck, and 3) The shapeshifting chick with the little balls for eyebrows. The new BSG has none of these. What it does have is a woman with excessively large lips playing New Starbuck. In the episode I'm watching right now, she is having so many timeslip flashbacks that I have totally lost track of what the hell is going on in the main timeline of the plot. Babylon 5, this ain't.

So in a tribute to my lost childhood, I offer this meme: YOUR SENIOR YEAR OF HIGH SCHOOL
What year was it? 1987/88.
What were your three favorite bands/music artists? Styx. The Grateful Dead. Jimmy Buffet. How's that for eclectic?
What was your favorite outfit? Capone's. Oh, no, wait. Levi denim jacket and jeans, oxford shirt.
What was up with your hair? Pretty much what's up with it now, only a tad longer.
Who were your best friends? In school, probably Tiffany and Jaymi. Outside school, no doubt the unsinkable Mara.
What did you do after school? Theatre. Star Trek re-runs. And miniatures painting.
Did you take the bus? A'course not, I went to a snotty private school that didn't even have a bus! I drove a '79 Ford Grenada, silver with dark red interior.
Who did you have a crush on? Nobody. I didn't go in much for crushes.
Did you fight with your parents? Almost never. (OK, the new BSG got even worse in the last 10 minutes of the episode. Big Lips ship is on fire, and she's punching out into SPACE. It's times like this I wish my remote worked.)
Who did you have a celebrity crush on? Aw....ok, Julie Andrews.
Did you smoke cigarettes? Good god, no.
Did you lug all of your books around in your backpack all day because you were too nervous to find your locker? Huh? Again, small private school--my locker was hard to lose. I do, however, still have fairly intense anxiety dreams about forgetting my locker combination. I have no idea what triggers this.
Did you have a clique? I had a gang. Is that like a clique?
Did you have "The Max" like Zach, Kelly and Slater? Like Jane, I had no idea what the hell this meant. Apparently, it's a "Saved by the Bell" reference. Anyway, all of Broad Ripple was probably our hangout.
Admit it, were you popular? Not popular, not unpopular. I was well-liked, but still not invited to the party where the police showed up and arrested half the senior class.
Who did you want to be just like? Dang, I dunno. Julie Andrews?
What did you want to be when you grew up/what did you think you'd be doing at the age you are now?A scenic designer. I was all about the theatre right up through college. Of course, if I'd gone the television designer route, I might have been able to prevent BSG 2005 from being foisted onto an unsuspecting public....

Saturday, January 22, 2005

At Last, a Theory I Can Support....

Adam Felber, the man who brought us gay penguin marriage, has come up with The Ladies' Undergarment Theory of Presidential Classification. (Actually, that's not what he called it, but I think my title is catchier and more likely to get a grant proposal.) The one gap in the theory is Reagan--if Reagan had been a brassiere, what kind would he have been? Suggestions are welcome.

And in another thoughtful analysis, this week Fafnir takes a ride on the Ferris Wheel of Freedom! "You bought your ticket, so you know you liked it."

As always, when classes start and I am forced to read texts about American political history, I am comforted by the reminder that nothing is ever new. When I start to think about the damage the current administration is doing to us and future generations, I can look back at the last century and see how much governmental bigotry, prejudice, and unconstitutional legislation we eventually overcame. While I'd far rather we hadn't inaugurated a president who has garnered almost universal dislike amongst the nations of the world (as well as about half the US population,) whose grasp of constitutional principles is feeble, and who thinks that God himself is talking to him and telling him to shove "freedom" down the throats of our enemies at all costs, well..... In the grand scheme of things, it's only one presidency.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Originally uploaded by me.
The Wide World of Sewage!

Jane has already described, far better than I can, the focal events of JANECON '05. Suffice it to say that high water in the river = high water in other places, such as my septic tank. This didn't occur to me at first, which is why Rat Girl--seen at right, exposing her true form--and I undertook to snake the downstairs plumbing on Saturday morning (assuming a dastardly cloggage.) We were makin' with the snakin', with no positive results; a phone call to the plumber resulted in my taking the cover off the septic and revealing that the groundwater level was about 1" below the bottom of my outflow pipe. Any sudden volume of water causes the whole system to back up via the base of the downstairs toilet. Saturday night saw my intrepid houseguests mopping an inch of sewage-tainted water off my downstairs floor. Massive props to Jane, Sarah, and Rat Girl for their uncomplaining fortitude. Without them, JaneCon 2005 would have been TotalCrapCon I.

So two weekends in a row have been hella exciting! JaneCon was a marvelous success, I ran 2 days of Cthulhu for an enthusiastic crowd, madness and mayhem resulting. The weekend before last, I went to Chicago to visit Alex, with Rat Girl and Kitchen Wench in tow. KW had a burning need to visit a chocolatier called Vosges, which has to be seen to be believed. Truffles with wasabi and ginger, anyone? Or balsamic vinegar and cheese? Unreal. KW, being no slouch as a candymaker herself, felt a professional need to acquire numerous samples of Vosges' wares. If you want to see a photo of someone truly happy, go look at this picture. Then we went to the Hello Kitty store, source of the terrifying photo above, and to the Lego store, which was so cool I completely forgot to take any pictures at all. I'm kicking myself, it was totally awesome. Just as KW indulged her passion by buying truffles, RG and I indulged ours by purchasing about 6 different sets of "Orient Adventure" Legos, which will be combined with the sets we already have into one grand Indiana Jones and the Temple of Brightly Colored Plastic Doom panorama! Ooooh. With that to look forward to, septic problems seem a minor inconvenience along the way.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Looking downriver
Originally uploaded by me.
Just Desserts?

There have been times, in the past, when I've gently teased my friends in California about the dangers of living there. Earthquakes.... wildfires... J-Lo and Ben... California is like disaster central. All we get here are the occasional monster snowstorms, which I find kind of exhilerating, and tornadoes, which are pretty location-specific--you can be right next to one and if it doesn't hit your house, you're fine. We don't really go in for area-effect disasters, usually. But last week and this week have been my comeuppance! They finally issued a voluntary evacuation order for my town last night. Naturally, I didn't go, but was kind of on pins and needles as to whether I'd wake up to Lake Neighborhood this morning. I moved my important papers to the second floor. I called my dad to make sure he'd take in the cats if I had to go. I called Rat Girl, just to jitter at her. I was...well....edgy. ( Of course, the pot of coffee I had around 6 pm might have influenced this as well.)

Today the sun is shining, the birds are singing, the weather is freezing, and the river is apparently at crest right now. As you can see in the photo, it's a bit higher than last week.... Like about 3 feet higher. That's the top of the levee, where the gravel path is. If the water were to rise another 18", it would begin pouring into town like milk into a bowl of Cap'n Crunch--but it's not gonna. I'm pretty confident of this, and the Flood Watch website agrees with me. Our town is safe! Probably! This is not, however, true for the poor bastards who live upriver of us at Ravenswood, who have been at critical flood levels for 2 days. That's part of why we're OK, ironically enough--the more water gushes through the homes and basements of Ravenswood, the less comes around our bend of the river. Frog Hollow, south of us, is under about 3' of water at last count. One hopes the frogs, at least, are happy. If you want to see more flood pictures, check the Flickr account, I've got one that's almost at the same angle as the one I posted last week.... Anyway, holding up, and I promise my next post will be about more fun things. Maybe.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

White River behind Town Hall
Originally uploaded by me.
The Rain Rain Rain Came Down Down Down....

That's a song from the old Disney Winnie the Pooh movie:
The rain rain rain came down down down
In rushing, rising rivulets,
'Til the river crept out of its bed
And crept right into Piglet's.

Like Piglet, I feared this week that I too might need to place a desperate message requesting rescue into a bottle and post it to Pooh Bear. We got about 6" of rain in three days this week; all the melting snow from the Xmas storm has the ground already completely saturated, and so the river near my house went from 9' to 11' to 13.5' by Friday morning.... The levee is around 16' at its lowest; 15' is the voluntary evacuation level for my town. So at a mere 18" from possible doom, there was much talk of emergency plans, moving furniture, and so on. A bit tense--while my actual house is in little danger, a flood would destroy most of my neighbors. The canoe was ready to deploy. But fortunately, the river seems to have crested at 13.5'. It could, like Jesus, rise again in a few days, as we just got more snow that will melt off tomorrow. But I'd like to think we're out of the woods for now! I was confident enough in the lack of floodage to swing a trip to Chicago this weekend, on which more will be posted later. Returned to find house and street still dry... so all is well.

Catch and Release
Originally uploaded by me.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

"Happy," You Say?

Sometimes I’m a little on the moody side. My tendency towards moodiness is always exacerbated on New Year’s; a general sense of wistfulness about the past escalates into a full-blown rush of “My god, another year gone, what have I done with it? ” Sort of a Pink Floyd, Shorter of breath, One day closer to death kind of thing. It’s always like that, ever since I was a kid. I always go to parties on New Year’s if possible, because being in a warm friendly social situation reduces the mood considerably. Such it was this year, I went to a fantastic party thrown by my pals Evan and Anne, and had a great time right up to midnight. It was splendid. Anne’s dad makes fruit vodkas that are to die for. I lost three games of cribbage, and tried all manner of alcoholic goodness (in small amounts, as I was the DD for four people.) The trigger for my slew of unhappiness is usually the Times Square Ball Drop--you could call it a sort of Dick Clark’s Rocking New Year’s Depression. (And Dick wasn’t even there this year thanks to a stroke. See?? More depressing than ever!) As the ball drops, so does my mood. This year was true to form, despite plenty of libation and Evan’s famous chili dip, I sank into grouchiness at 12:00:01. Not to say I didn’t still have fun forcing Rat Girl to perform the “straight line walk” and “touch your nose” drunkenness tests before driving home (she didn’t actually need to do it, since I was driving, but it was fun watching her) and seeing the little kids at the party throw streamers at each other. But an inchoate sadness was creepin’ up on me, and by the time we got home I was monosyllabic and irritable. I bounced back a little in the morning as we drove J and C to the airport, but lost it again during what was otherwise a pleasant walk in the woods--mood + asthma = worse mood. I hate feeling limited by my asthma, and these days I'm usually not.... but something on this walk set it off. Not an emergency, but I felt tired and unhappy and pathetic when it set in. Back to that Pink Floyd thing! Usually walking makes me feel better when I'm crabby, but not yesterday. Anyway, the long and the short of it is that when I got home I finally indulged in about 15 minutes of pure feeling sorry for myself. Then I took a hot shower and went over to Jason's to spread the love. Talk, video games, cinnamon scones (courtesy of Brigetta and 5-year-old Max) and a comfy chair do wonders. Went home, had a nap and some dinner, went back and played Bootleggers with J and B and the college boys from 9 til midnight, and New Year's was finally over. I'm pretty much back to normal today.

So does anyone else get down on New Year's, or is it just me? And if you do, what do you do?